Q&A Tuesday: Am I too scared to commit?

Dear Jerome,
I've always lived a lot of places and done a lot of new things workwise, but now that I'm getting older, I worry that I haven't chosen a true path, that I'm afraid of committing. What should I do?

 
Well if there’s a silver lining to your situation it’s this: only privileged folk get to ponder their “true path” because they’ve managed their affairs so well: No student loan debt, no shortage of square feet, no child in rehab, and no spouse who carries his phone into the shower (having fear that you’ll discover something you already suspect). 

It’s funny how high achievement often leaves us feeling bored with our current situation, feeling detached and lifeless, offering courtesy laughs and smiles but never having real fun, and the biggie: feeling like our time and efforts don’t mean crap to anybody.

But I’m going to give it to you straight: Keep on pondering like this and your BMI is gonna sky rocket! In fact, you might already be in the fattening stage that happens right before being sent to the slaughter house, i.e., feeling way too dead on the inside. 

So let’s define true path
When you say “true path,” I hope you know that this is not a path that necessarily feels good, make you look good or is void of suffering. If you want truth, you have to suffer. The wilderness is not air conditioned. You have to work a lot of late hours. There’s no yoga-in-the-middle-of-the-day here.

That’s right: True paths come at the cost. You have to shed pride, arrogance, self assassination and self hate. 

But I live and encourage others to live in a way that there is something transcendent achieved in all their efforts. That is, if others are elevated or uplifted as a function of your current path, you’ve chosen a true path. Going into debt to be a social worker or a teacher can mean you’ve chosen a path with fruits greater than the debt, a path that yields a gift that keeps on giving. 
 
Now on to this afraid of committing thing
The “afraid of committing” piece is probably the most dangerous thing you mentioned because it just wreaks of stagnation. And it’s the highest caloric and least healthy stunt you’re pulling.

But wait. Don’t go buy bigger clothes. There is a solution to this.  

•If you’re really ballsy, hope for a crisis. Greatness is born only out of tragedy and crises. You don’t just decide to be great, you have to “earn” it. A crisis can help resolve your stagnation.

•If you’re not so ballsy, join a cause that involves a crisis, be it Tea Party or Occupy. Just join up with something that yields a product that transcends simply serving your ego.

•Buy a sandbox and invite tons of people over to share with you.  

The point of all of these things is just do something and stop waiting for the right path to come along. If you want to attend one of the Ivys, you have to apply. Your commitment to a path is essentially like applying to life by pulling your thumb out of your you-know-what and detaching from your thoughts.
 
On the other hand, be where you are
I know it’s heartbreaking to think that the life you really want and deserve is out there and you just haven’t found your way to trailhead. I know it’s terribly disappointing to think that where you are today is all you get to have and it is not the path that you were meant to be on. And I know that your heartbreak and disappointment is born out of denial, magical thinking, resistance to reality, and vanity. 

You are on the path that you were meant to be on, so stop tormenting yourself about where you are and bemoaning where you should be. Here are the questions you can ask yourself that will take you out of this funk: Where am I most useful today? Where would the greatest yield be derived from the use of my skill sets? Who is up for a dinner party tonight? Where will commitment to these answers take me? This trumps the path questions because things you can control today don’t give you decision fatigue.  
 
I’ve been called too cynical and suspicious by a few because I just abhor high falutin’ “follow your heart and it will manifest your destiny” talk. And that’s because I firmly believe that the truth is in reality and real love is born out of embracing reality no matter what the reality might be. 

(Remember, nothing great comes easy).

And before you think that you don’t want me as your coach because I ain’t magical enough, I want to make sure you know one important thing: I’m keeping it real because you deserve it and I love you! There’s no deeper truth than that.

Be peace, be love,
Jerome!
 

Laura